It started with toilet paper and just unraveled from there.
When the pandemic toilet-paper hoarding began, Jason Rankin of Kettering did the exact opposite. He handed out toilet paper to anyone who needed it. It’s a small act, but Rankin likes helping his neighbors.
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“It’s cool seeing the community support each other. It’s too bad it took something bad to bring people together,” he said.
That’s not where his generosity stopped. Rankin joined a local Facebook group called the Shopping Angels. Members volunteer to get groceries and other items people in need can’t get themselves. Rankin has made 10 deliveries so far and loves to wave to those he helps.
“We are supposed to help our neighbors and people in need. That’s how I was brought up. I like doing that. It’s just what we do. We get something out of it, too — people smile and that’s enough,” Rankin said.
If you want to volunteer to be a Shopping Angel, please visit this Facebook page.
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From angels to fairies
Many residents in the Kettering area have posted on social media about receiving random goodie bags filled with toys, candies and even wine.
Betsy O’Ryan of Kettering said that she has been “wined” four times now. The first bag she received from a friend was filled with a bottle of wine, Reese Cups and a solar dinosaur toy.
Since then, O’Ryan has joined a group called the Montgomery County East Wine Fairy Sisterhood so that she can pay it forward.
“It makes you feel connected. For me and a lot of people, you get more out of giving. It’s just nice to make someone’s day,” she said.
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Beyond porch goodies, O’Ryan and her family have delivered driveway chalk messages, dropped off Bill’s Donuts to friends and created a thank-you video for Kettering teachers and staff.
O’Ryan said teachers and parents have been “adopting” students — taking signs and goodies to their students and leaving them anonymously. She said this a way that fifth- and eighth-graders who are moving on to junior high and high school can have a celebration, too.
There are many different wine fairy sisterhoods on Facebook, divided up by region and county. O’Ryan said that the guys were jealous and started their own beer buds group. If you want to deliver booze to your buds, look on Facebook.
From wine fairies to sugar fairies
For Brandy Gleason of Riverside, delivering sweets to people’s doorsteps isn’t just a way to help others, but also a way to help herself stay sober.
“It’s (delivering goodies) all about community — and having that social support is a big part of recovery, but in a way that is safe and kind of fun,” she said.
Gleason, a social worker, is part of the Sugar Fairies of the Miami Valley on Facebook. The group drops off baskets of sweets to people’s doorsteps anonymously. Gleason saw the Wine Fairies online but couldn’t be part of that as she has been in recovery for six years.
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“I liked the idea behind it. I saw wine, but I’m in recovery. I wanted a gift, too. I don’t like wine, but I like donuts,” she said.
The Sugar Fairies have also dropped off baskets to people in recovery or who are staying in sober-living facilities. The group has dropped off to 140 people in recovery. Gleason said these acts of kindness mean a lot to people getting sober as they sometimes don’t have a tight social network.
“We usually don’t fit with old friends or new friends. Recovery friends have each other. Focusing on random acts of kindness builds them up. When I got sober, it was because people loved me when I didn’t feel lovable. People believed in me and that was a game changer,” Gleason said.
The members of sober living have also paid it forward by becoming Sugar Fairies themselves. If you want to become part of the group, search for Sugar Fairies of The Miami Valley on Facebook.
From free sweets to free lunch
While many have been working from home during the last few months, essential workers have been taking care of business putting themselves at risk so that food and supplies are available to all.
Chris Banks of Kettering realized this and decided she was going to do something about it to show her appreciation. So she started a GoFundMe to buy lunch for the workers at Kroger on Stroop Road.
“I was just in the store and realized that these people aren’t going anywhere, and I was grateful. It just popped up in my head. It’s a nice thing to do and I like doing nice things.,” she said.
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The GoFundMe was set at $550 originally, but Banks dropped it down to $435. There was a delivery fee, but she decided to just take the lunches to Kroger herself. It took 16 days and 25 donors to hit the goal.
Banks purchased the box lunches from McAlister’s Deli in Beavercreek and took them to the workers. She said the Kroger employees were incredibly grateful.
“They were very humble and grateful. I was humbled by their humility. I felt like this is such a drop in the bucket of the gratitude I have for them. They didn’t go to the grocery store to risk their lives,” she said.
Banks said she might do something else like this is future. She was happy with the way the community all pitched in for a simple thank-you gift. While buying lunch one day for workers may seem small, it makes a big difference.
“I just thought that it was a really beautiful thing that people came together to make the day sunny for people who are sticking it out for us,” she said.
Do you know of other acts of kindness in your neighborhood? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stories of Hope
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